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Sheffield Spring Preview report


Report by Glyn Boyington

Of course I am biased and to be honest I was busy most of the day back stage but here is my stab at a description of Spring Preview. 

Firstly there was a big audience. Throughout the whole event the stands were full. The bar area had a steady turn over and so did the catering van which had seats and chairs and fortunately the benefit of better weather than predicted. 

The venue is set up theatre style with raked seating but has a decent sized floor area, plenty of backstage room and a decent bar/social area. 

Pre show a group of 4 local 13 year olds “The Bailey Street Seven” entertained in the bar. Vocals, drums, guitar, bass guitar. Also a big screen playing a DVD of Concord’s last stage show “Mulitplicity”. It was also good to see Steve Hibbert (Slam Jam)back out on the circuit selling sticks and beaters. 

First act was The 5th Halifax(Elland) BB Old Boys 

Their drums were exceptional playing beatings from the old days including the drum salute made famous by the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards. Hardly surprising they are so good when the likes of Kevin Stock, Martin Bird, Jason Gill and Spanners were in the section. 

Trumpet sound was very good. No bum notes that I heard. No fancy bass, alto or horns just standard and fanfare Eb trumpets. Bell lyres were not intrusive and with just two to about a dozen trumpets were well balanced.  Mick Moss who was drum major told me they have a few more trumpeters and that they had decide to give us just the “old” tunes. I recognised Colours, Mandy, Keel, The Thunderer, Semper Fidelis . They finished with William Tell. 

The packed audience gave a resounding response. One 10 year old said to me “I really like those old men with the bugles, I wish I could play the drum that well”. Some of them may be getting on, even older than me, but they still have what it takes. 

Next up were Concord All Stars. Ranging in age from 8 to about 13 and with between 2 months and 3 years experience they played music from “Oliver”. Since I taught most of the brass the basics I am really not the one to make a judgement but they have a good bottom end sound with a tuba and 5 baritones/euphoniums. 8 trumpets (1 missing) and 3 mellophones/tenor horns complete the brass. Drum section was 6 snares, two tenors and 3 bass drums with 2 in the pit and 3 cymbal players. 

There then followed an enthusiastic display by what seemed like hundreds of cheerleaders from Sheffield based Cheermania. Working in age group teams ranging from little kids to teenagers the danced and tumbled their way though some exiting routines. The audience was enthralled (as were one or two teenage boys) 

Taking the spot vacated by Anchormen Street Percussion ,who were unable to attend, was Sam Heeley whose drum kit playing showed why he was the BYBA Young Musician of 2012. 

Concluding the first half was Revolution Show Corps from Queensberry in West Yorkshire. Dressed in their casual polo shirt uniforms, they did a great job and sent the audience off to the interval wanting more. 

The second half opened with Concord Youth Music who presented a small section of their repertoire which included full ensemble features, brass only, rhythm section and dance features as well as a ”marching” performance of “160 Beats Per Minute”. I am not very knowledgeable about such things but the girls dancing/performing in “Angels” was fantastic. 

A complete change of mood with the City Of Sheffield Pipe Band performing next. The audience may have wondered why there was a slight delay at the entrance curtain; The Pipe Major had twisted his bag (sounds painful) and had to do a quick repair to get the instrument working. This is not a competing band but piping is to a decent standard and they look the part in their City of Sheffield tartan kilts with the grey base recalling Sheffield steel. You either love or hate the pipes and the audience seemed to love them. 

A top flight drum corps next. Poynton Commodores sounded very good. I would say they are stronger and more musical than last year and I look forward to seeing them on the field.

St Andrews (New Earswick) Church Lads and Church Girls Brigade were on next. Chatting to their CO back stage (he is not only Company commander and bandmaster but plays the marching xylophone) I found out that they will not be at this year’s CLCGB Nationals because they could not commit to the amount of practice needed. As soon as they stepped off I wondered what he meant because they looked smart and moved well. 

They may only number about 20 but they are extremely musical, competent players. They marched part of their presentation and stood in concert formation for part. The euphonium soloist was fantastic. For many these were the highlight of the night. I am surprised that such a good band (4 times CLCGB Champions in the last 6 years) is not seen more often. When asked why they had come to Spring Preview their Captain said” Because we were asked. We are really pleased and honoured to be here” 

Now to Kidsgrove Scouts. In their famous red, white and black uniforms they filled the floor. They may not have as many players as last year but I think they will still be the biggest corps in the UK. Powerful horns with 5 tubas and plenty of baritones. Only 6 trumpets, I think, so I suspect some were missing. I am not sure how this show will go down but it is an impressive sound. 

Last act the Frumptarn Guggen Band from Barnsley. Anyone who knows the Barnsley accent may be able to understand why “Frumptarn”- in English “From the Town”. Guggen being a German name for this type of street music. Instruments included a red plastic trombone, an eastern European helicon bass, a sousaphone, trumpets, horns, Saxes and drums, blocks and other percussion on wheels all enthusiastically directed from the bass drum. 

When Roger told me he had been able to book this band I was not sure-I have seen this sort of thing before and did not know if it would go well with the drum corps/band audience. How wrong could I be? The audience absolutely loved it. In their ludicrous black and white spotted suites and bowler hats they brought a touch of continental carnival to the Blue Shed. 

To finish off the event, Frumptarn stayed on the floor whilst City of Sheffield Pipe Band marched on to The Crags of Mount Tumbledown before playing Highland Cathedral and marched off to We’re No Awa Tae Bide Awaa. 

End of the evening ? NO 

Frumtarn got dozens on the floor dancing to their infectious sound. Seeing old folks, little kids, people in Revolution jackets, Church Lads and Girls and their officers in uniform leaping and dancing to a gang of musicians dressed as cows playing a bizarre collection of instruments was amazing. 

Everyone seemed to leave happy and wondering what might top that next year. A big ask for Roger to organise one to top this.

15th May 2013



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